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May 08, 2018
For this week’s #BORNATDAWNMUSE we are honouring singer songwriter and actress Tina Turner. She was born Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee to mother Zelma and father Floyd, both poor share croppers.
Anna grew up all over Southeastern USA and sang in local Baptist choirs. During high school she frequented St Louis clubs with sister Ruby Aillene and met Ike Turner, joining his Kings of Rhythm group age 17.
He created her on-stage persona ‘Tina Turner’ and as the Ike and Tina Turner Revue they achieved great success including opening for the Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour. Tina endured a 14-year marriage to Ike who regularly beat and exploited her. They had one child, Ronnie, and she adopted two of his children. She left him in 1976, virtually penniless, filing for divorce in 1978.
Tina branched out alone in a white-dominated music industry, performing in low key venues and cleaning houses to make ends meet. Her initial solo career was slow but 1984’s album Private Dancer was a huge success. With guts and defiance, she achieved huge solo stardom in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Her autobiography, I Tina was published in 1986 and adapted as the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do With It. She has sold around 200 million records and won 12 Grammys.
Tina’s style is instantly recognisable. She reinvented herself after leaving Ike, working with designer Bob Mackie to create thigh-high splits, sequinned minidresses and jumpsuits. As the Queen of Rock’n' Roll her signature look included black leather with denim and an iconic red leather dress designed by Azzedine Alaia. She landed her first Vogue cover in 2013, aged 73.
Tina, 78, is a converted Buddhist residing in Switzerland with German music producer Erwin Bach. Tina Turner - The Musical chronicles her life and phenomenal career, opening in London’s West End in April 2018.
Turner has been smashing boundaries for over 60 years with enormous talent and the resilience to overcome violent oppression and adversity. In her words, “If you are unhappy with anything, whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”
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